Directed By: Chan-wook Park

Starring: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang, Dal-han Ji, Dal-Su Oh,
Byeong-ok Kim

Synopsis: A Korean business man is kidnapped and placed in a room where he
spends the next 15 yrs. When released he is told he has 5 days to figure out
why he was put there. (Based on the Japanese manga by Minegishi Nobuaki and
Tsuchiya Garon.)


Another movie from Tartan Asia Extreme (who also brought you Acacia,
Memento Mori, & A Tale of Two sisters). Second installment in Chan-wook’s
revenge trilogy. I never got the chance to catch this movie in theaters, and I
kept hearing how great it is. So I patiently waited for the DVD. It was definitely
worth the wait. I really wish I could have seen this in theaters. It starts off with
a cleaner looking but drunken Oh Dae-su sitting at a police station waiting for a
friend to pick him up. When his friend finally arrives and takes him out he goes
to use a pay phone to speak to his daughter who is still a very young age to tell
her he'll be home soon shortly after walking away he is taken away by unknown
assailants and placed in a small hotel room. He is fed the same kind of
dumplings everyday.

Once a year he is given new clothes, a hair cut and a shave. His only link to the
outside world is a television. After 5 years he begins to train fighting a drawn
human figure on the wall. Slowly going insane he starts seeing ants everywhere
and attempts suicide several times. Then one day after 15 long years he is
released. Only knowing that his wife had been murdered and he was the main
suspect. After a few days trying to track down his kidnappers, he is told that he
has only 5 days to figure out why he was put away, and if he figures it out he
can kill the man who put him there. He gets the help of a friend and a girl who is
of course the main love interest of Dae-su (sorry to throw in another synopsis).

The only word that can really describe this movie is incredible. The look was
fantastic and Min-sik Choi as Dae-su was definitely great casting. In the opening
at the police station Min-sik Choi had ad-libbed all of the lines. It may seem like
just another revenge movie (like Kill Bill and Ichi the Killer), but this one is really
just a bit different from the others. This one has an incredible story. Which you
just feel for Dae-su the whole time, you never once hate him. I watched this
movie several times, I was just so amazed. Probably one thing everyone will
enjoy is the one-take fight scene with a dozen bodyguards down a dark
corridor. Another enjoyment was probably the music they used just classic
music songs in several scenes where you really wouldn't expect them to use it
and it worked so well for the style of the movie. This one you can enjoy even if
you are not into Asian cinema. Oldboy may remind you of a few movies but the
great story, acting and many surprises will keep your attention.

Overall: 9/10
Genres: Action, Mystery,

Rated: R

Country: South Korea

Year: 2003

Runtime: 120 minutes

Studio: Tartan Asia


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Review done by: Nekra
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